Chin Women Group (CWG) was founded in Mae Sot in June 2007 with the aim to provide income for its members and to help preserve skills within the Chin community.
Chin State in the North-East of Burma, is one of the poorest regions of an already poor country. In this mostly mountainous state, people often live in remote places and have difficulties finding income beyond sustenance farming. CWG hopes to train young Chin in the art of weaving and by incorporating traditional fabrics in modern design and product, hopes to keep culture alive.
Currently CWG consists of 4 young women, and one of them regularly visit Yangon where she trains Chin women in weaving and designing. The products that CWG sell at Borderline helps the 4 women and gives them the opportunity to pass on their skills. By living together and sharing costs, they are able to run CWG.
When CWG started, they also started the process of learning how to make new products and focusing on quality control and listening to what the customers are interested in. At the start the production was slow, later after several workshops with other groups, both design and production speed improved.
Fabric is usually send from Chin state. Occasionally a newly designed product does not sell well, and this is part of the learning process. Over time this happens less, which helps the group function.
While the situation is still far from perfect, members of the group can now move more freely than all those years
In 2007, the products of CWG and other groups would be at Borderline on consignment. As the finances of Borderline improved, slowly it could start purchasing products when it entered the shop, and this has improved the cash flow for CWG.
The future plans for CWG are to continue making products for the market, which besides Borderline are visitors and local people, and to help communities in Chin state creating their won products and markets.